Tuesday, January 10, 2017

DiAne Gates Ropes the Diamond Mine! (UPDATE! Giveaway!)

Hello everyone, welcome to the Diamond Mine! As y’all know, we have a slew of new miners this year and I have the honor of welcoming a great friend to the crew, DiAne Gates. In addition, she’s an awesome author! But I won’t spoil the surprise, let’s get started with the interview!

Renee: Hi, DiAne, I’m so happy you’ve joined us at the Mine. What can you tell us about how you began writing?

DiAne: Renee, thank you for introducing me to the Diamond Mine Writers. It’s a pleasure and privilege to be included in this talented group of authors.
Even though I’m a late starter, I’ve been writing for years, like since I was a teen. I’ve written and illustrated five other children’s books and hope to find a publisher for them in the coming year. We have an Air Force Colonel son and his beautiful wife, a daughter who resides in heaven for the past almost sixteen years, and her two almost grown children.
In 2010 God led me kicking and screaming to North Texas Christian Writers and the rest is history. He always knows best and has a perfect plan. Sure would have been easier if I’d gone peacefully, but that’s another story.

Renee: Oh, boy, now that does sound like an interesting story. I’d love to hear about it someday, as would everyone else, I’m sure! But for now, I think we have ANOTHER story to talk about. What’s special or unique about your book…you know, the latest one up for all these cool awards?

DiAne: Anytime you include Texas, horses, and rodeo in the same paragraph you have the makings of a rollercoaster ride of dips, dives, and page-turning drama. Throw in a tall, handsome Texas Ranger under that Stetson, El Grande, a teenage immigrant boy from China, and a teenage competition-crazed, barrel racing, bull riding gal, and her spoiled, temperamental, red-headed diva competitor—that spells unique by any description. Confine them all in a small Texas town outside Dallas, Texas, where prejudice and family lies flourish like a crop of sandspurs, and the story writes itself!

Renee: Well, then, I’d say ROPED is deserving of its acclaim! You said the book is set in a small town outside of Dallas? Is there anything unique about this small Texas town? How did you come up with rodeo as your topic?

DiAne: This Florida girl (meaning me!) arrived in Texas and had not a clue about anything rodeo. But due to corporate downsizings, I needed to help with family income and God opened the door for me to open my own business. After trials and errors, I hired a young mom who was a barrel-racer. We became close friends and my teen daughter and I learned to love the excitement of rodeo!
We pulled on boots and jeans. Weekends on the circuit taught me the lingo, introduced me to the nuisances of competition, buckles and titles, and ROPED became a figment of my imagination. One evening, perched high atop a field judge’s seat, I commenced to photograph the events, barrel racing first then bull riding. But instead of “that super shot” of a bucking bull, a Brahma bull named Booger Daddy had other ideas. The cowboys threw the gate open, he bucked twice and his cowboy hit the ground with a thud. Then I realized BD was staring right at me. He pawed the ground. My mouth opened to scream, but no sound came out and my feet and fanny refused to move.
Did I mention there was an enormous puddle of muddy water just inside the arena fence beneath me? A pick-up man galloped toward the now charging BD. The cowboy, his paint pony, and the bull all hit the puddle at the same time from opposite directions. Mud covered me, my camera, my white eyelet blouse, and fancy jeans—and Booger Daddy became immortalized in my first book of the ROPED series.

Renee: I wish I had been there! Mud baths are so nice, aren’t they? Besides watching rodeo (just kidding!) do you have any hobbies or things you like to do when you’re not working?

DiAne: For most of my life, painting has been my pursuit. I toured while living in Florida, doing weekend art shows. My mom referred to those years as my “gypsy life-style.” And when Book Two-TWISTED is released in the Spring of 2017, I will be giving away five or six of my paintings. I’ve graduated from that mud-caked camera and still love to roam the countryside taking pictures of God’s gorgeous creations. I also love to garden and cook and have a new blog entitled The Southern Side of Flavor, at http://floridagirlturnedtexan.wordpress.com. I share family recipes and give some tips on cutting calories yet maintaining flavor…southwestern flavor!

Renee: Oh, yum! Did you here that, folks? Food! Good southern food! I may need to visit this blog. J Is there a special quote or saying which comes to your mind in times of need or adversity?

DiAne: My mom was the queen of proverbial sayings. One of her favorites that is permanently engraved on the underside of my eyelids is, “If you don’t want to get in trouble, don’t be where trouble can happen!”
And yes, all these years later there are numerous times her words still echo in my head and heart…
like the night a girlfriend and I were driving from Orlando to an art show in Marco Island, Florida.  We took a wrong turn, ended up on Alligator Alley, and ran out of gas on this notorious roadway across the Everglades where every bad four-footed and two footed varmint comes out after dark. Cecil Murphey’s book, “Heavenly Strangers, Entertaining Angels Unaware”, contains my story of that frightful night, entitled “Alligator Alley Angels.”
My barrel racing terror, Crissy Crosby, hears her mama repeat those wise words to her in TWISTED, just like I repeated them to my own children when they were teens. And sometimes I still have to repeat them to myself when I see that uber-super shot I can only capture with a trip across someone’s pasture. My husband won’t buy me a four-wheel drive saying, “At least with a regular car I can hope you’re still on the roadway.” If he only knew—

Renee: God uses life to teach us lessons. Share one of your life lessons with us.

DiAne: This would be an eanie-meanie-miney-mo choice when you’re my age. But the most dynamic number of lessons came from one tragic life event—the sudden death of our twenty-eight-year-old daughter, almost sixteen years ago.
I was convinced my life and world went to the grave with her. But God taught me about “those secret things” He proclaims in Deuteronomy 29:29. The “why” questions drove me to near insanity until I read that verse early one morning. “The secret things belong to the Lord. The things revealed belong to you and your children forever.” I read and reread the verse, never having seen it before and God whispered Do you trust Me? I would love to tell you I answered with a clear, firm, Yes Lord. I trust You. But I could barely answer back with a nod and a gulley-washer tear storm. It took months for me to understand that if He answered my why questions, our Michelle would still be gone. Her death was one of those secret things. He had numbered her days before she was born.
The subsequent months and years I’ve learned that if we clutch what and those we have with a fierce grip, God cannot and will not replenish our hands with His peace and joy. I learned that as the scripture in Revelation says, “Blessed are those who die in the Lord for they find rest” comforts my soul when I miss my daughter. I’ve learned to count the blessings her death has loosed in so many lives. At her funeral five of her friends found Jesus and accepted Him as Lord and Savior. God has blessed me by allowing me to walk through over fourteen years of helping and being His physical arms of comfort around others who are new to the grief journey. Does her loss still hurt? Of course, it does. But grief is the price you pay for loving someone. And it’s a small price when compared with our mutual love.

Renee: God promises never to leave or forsake us. Share an instance where you have been alone but God has been by your side in the tumult.

DiAne: In the weeks, months, and year after my daugher’s death, I cared for her almost five-year-old daughter and seven-month-old son. With all those people around, I was alone. Caring for little ones gave me no time to grieve and physical and mental exhaustion became normal for me. One afternoon I had enough and collapsed on the living room floor and sobbed. Our almost five-year-old granddaughter stopped and said, “Mimi, why are you crying?” I replied, “’Cause I miss your mama.” “Why?” She asked. “Cause she was my daughter,” I sobbed.
With her blonde tussled hair, hands on her hips, and that look only a little girl can give, she scolded. “Mimi! She’s still your daughter!”  I dried my tears and accepted this new insight from a tiny girl who gained wisdom from her Jesus. God is good…even in times of great distress.

Renee: It’s amazing how complex we make life, isn’t it and through the eyes of a child, we are reminded how complete—perfect God’s plan is for us. All of us, from now to eternity. What is your life goal?

DiAne: My life verse is Hebrews 12:1-4…”Run the race that is set before you…”  God doesn’t make mistakes. He promises if we belong to Him, He will bring good for us and glory for Himself out of everything He allows in our lives. And sometimes we forget, but God doesn’t.
However long He allows me to remain on this earth my one goal is to honor and give glory to His Name and His Word, and to share that Word and those difficult life lessons He’s taught me with everyone He places in my sphere of influence. ROPED, TWISTED, UNTIED, and any other titles yet to be named, share real life, the good, the bad, and the ugly, and show God is Sovereign over all things. And if we allow Him, He will indeed transform our lives and fill us with His joy, now and forever!



Woohoo! The rodeo has come to the Diamond Mine!
DiAne has agreed to giveaway a digital copy of ROPED!

Leave a comment about the interview or ask a question to enter!
Don't forget to leave your email address to validate the entry.
One winner will be selected by random draw on 1/18/17.


About ROPED by DiAne Gates:

Thirteen-year-old Crissy Crosby chases a dream to live up to her parents’ rodeo legacy. But the rodeo championship is two months away and problems beyond her ability to solve stack and teeter like a game of Tumbling-Towers. Meanwhile rival Jodie Lea and her father, Ed Fairgate, contrive to swipe the silver buckles from Crissy’s grasp any way they can. Prejudice, anger, and dark secrets simmer in a pot of family feuds destined to boil over in a tragic nightmare at the rodeo. Will Crissy develop courage and faith to overcome the consequences of her temper? Will her dreams of buckles and titles become reality? Or will the character-building adversities of her life quash her dreams forever?

About DiAne Gates:

Texas writer, DiAne Gates, illustrates, photographs, and writes for children, young adults, and serious non-fiction for adults through her two Word Press blogs, Moving the Ancient Boundaries and The Southern Side of Flavor.
DiAne also works as a freelance artist, photographer, edit group leader for North Texas Christian Writers, and GriefShare facilitator. A writing stent with the East Texas Rodeo Association magazine, gave birth to this western rodeo adventure series, released by Prism Book Group in August of 2015. ROPED--Available at Amazon.com and the second book, TWISTED, continues the journey of the Crosby and Fairgate families. The third book of the series, UNTIED, is her current work-in-progress.
ROPED was selected as a finalist for the Grace Awards and the Christian Literary Henry Awards in 2016.
Wife, mother, and Mimi, whose passion is still to share those hard life lessons God allows in our lives. Lessons she hopes will leap from the page into your heart.

Word Press Blogs: http://dianegates.wordpress.com/ and http://floridagirlturnedtexan.wordpress.com features The Southern Side of Flavor
Crosswalk Christian Online Magazine: http://www.crosswalk.com/faith/spiritual-life/grief’s ugly-step-sisters.html and several other articles


Terry Palmer said...

Thank you for this interview. It is amazing to it again and again. Through tragedy, a rough gem is cut and polished. Yet, God is there and knows what is best for us and is near to those who are crushed in their spirit.Psalms 34. My wife and I know these things to be true, but that isn't why I commented. I'm wondering if people who read this column understand the depth of healing that takes place during these trials. It isn't just what happens up front, but also the lasting scar that is there in your heart and the trauma that goes with it.
I hope that others who read this can find the encouragement to go on with Christ.
Author Terry Palmer

DiAne Gates said...

Oh Terry, thank you for your response. There is no way anyone can understand the dark journey of grief and the unspeakable time it takes to reach that place of a new normal I tell my GriefShare folks, if we could take a picture of your heart, we'd put you in ICU critical care.

I asked the Lord to never let me heal to the place where I couldn't remember how to cry and comprehend what my GS folks were going through. And God has been faithful to leave those scars very tender.

But grief will either make you bitter or better. It's our choice. And I can tell by your comment that you and your wife have been right there with the rest of us. May God pour His blessings over you two.


Terry Palmer said...

Going through some level of grief has sharpened by understanding of other people going through both trauma and chronic pain. After three surgeries I can place myself right there, hand in hand, and either share a grief or laugh at a story. The point is a shared passion. Christ also said to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.
Here is the point for your author friends. I couldn't have written some of those most tender scenes with my characters if I didn't know it in my heart and spirit. Experience the passion !Here will be a hard time for me to share but I want your people to know a 'how to', how the Lord work from personal example.
You see... As part of my writing on the battle between darkness and light, I have to stay in touch with those who also battle. Are you afraid of that, dear author friend. Are you more afraid of what darkness might do to you if or when you take a stand for Christ and say no to that which wants to kill, maim, and destroy. You see, I praise the Lord for my infirmities, my recent surgeries, my curled up hand, and etc. because it puts me direct defiance of darkness for the sake of those who don't know. In this manner, God placed me directly into the path of two people who battled. The first, so dear to my heart, was a young single mom, torn and scared by a life of darkness, yet knew about the light and desperately wanted help. Not from me but of a spiritual nature. In a moment of clarity, she arrived at our home study in which I presented, in His spirit, a very simple article on how a teeter tooter is like darkness. It holds you up in life with no way to get down, yet Christ is right there to take away that overbearing weight of sin and darkness and pull you off of that teeter tooter of life. She felt as if every word was for her and accepted Christ moments later.
My other friend, a coworker at my night job was very depressed through poor life choices, drugs and alcohol. I knew his place and understood his fear, so God helped me understand God' timing and during our lunch break, he found Christ too.
I use these examples, not of or for me, but to Glory in Christ, for without Christ I am nothing. I could not have understood who and where each of these people were if I had not been willing to stare down darkness and use scripture against it. Now I can write those kinds of confrontations right into my stories with a skill and passion unknown to me before.
Do you see it? Do you understand the willingness to take on a bit of trauma, a bit of darkness striking back at me for the opportunity to praise Him for what He has done? That is the point I'm willing to share, ( a bit of rant here, I know ), because it is these things that make us stand out as Christian writers. I can't wait to see what the Lord is going to do when my Chronicles make it to print - but darkness is fighting that too. Darkness doesn't want you to know or understand how wonderful it is to tell other about Him, both directly and in print.
Whew. I guess I went on a bit there, but I hope your friends understand and take that step of faith with Him. All things are possible in Christ.
Author Terry Palmer

Jodi Rule-Rouse said...

Diane, you never seem to amaze me and neither does God on what He gets to do through you and your story. Now that you are an AWESOME writer, He is using this avenue to connect you and His word with the stories you share. I thank you for being an obedient servant even though we sometimes like a cowgirl dig our heals in the ground as He pulls us up or to a new place. I love you girlfriend!

DiAne Gates said...

If we could but grasp that every moment, every event, every high, and every low God allows in our lives, He will use for our good and His glory. But we're too much in the moment to think beyond. Just think what He's going to do with us when we're in bodies like His...bodies that don't hurt or become weary! Now that's a Yahoo thought! Wish there weren't miles between us. Love you too!

Renee Blare said...

Thank you, Terry and Jodi for your responses and insights.

Terry, you are more than welcome to "go on and on." ;) Some say that God will not give us more than we can bear. After watching my husband endure surgeries (37 and counting), and the pain he does on a daily basis, I have to say that even when we face more than we can bear, we aren't alone.

God gives us His strength when we believe we can't go on.

But the battle against the darkness, even for Christians like us, is real. Darkness lingers where and when we least expect it, fighting for a foothold in the weakest hours of the night or morning. Satan uses doubt, fear, loneliness, anger...to manipulate in moments of weakness or fatigue when we least expect it.

But I know no matter what I face or Satan says to me in the darkest of dark nights that
God is good...all the time.

grace burke said...

Grace Burke gray333@att.net
I enjoyed the interview with Diane Gates. She's a great group leader of the North Texas Christian Writers Group. I plan to read Roped anyway but will be pleased if I am a winner the giveaway!

Renee Blare said...

Thank you, Grace! DiAne is an awesome person and so glad you get the chance to know her. :) Thanks for stopping by the Mine. Hope to see you again soon.

Renee Blare said...

And the winner of the giveaway is...
Congratulations, Terry! If you could email me at faithwalker007@gmail.com I'll pass the message along to DiAne and we'll get ROPED off to you ASAP!


Terry Palmer said...

So gracious of you ladies. I so enjoyed participating. I hope the Lord continues to bless your writing.
Let me know what I can do for you, or more future blogs.
Blessings in Christ

Terry Palmer said...

Oops, forgot. Fictionbypalmer@gmail.com